How to select your expat health insurance agent in Thailand?

How to select your expat health insurance agent in Thailand?

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So you’ve decided to move to Thailand. Exciting! Now comes the boring part—sorting out health insurance.

As an expat in Thailand, health insurance may be compulsory and certainly recommended. But don’t worry, getting coverage doesn’t have to be a drag.

The key is finding an insurance agent who makes the whole process painless. After all, the last thing you want to deal with after arriving in your tropical paradise is paperwork and red tape, or worse still you need medical treatment and you are not adequately insured.

The different insurance options available to you

The main options for purchasing expat health insurance in Thailand are:

1. Buy from an independent insurance broker

Independent brokers represent multiple insurance companies, so they can find a policy that suits your needs and budget. Brokers do the legwork for you, comparing plans and handling the paperwork. The best brokers specialize in expatriate insurance and understand your unique requirements.

2. Purchase directly from an insurance provider

You can buy insurance directly from companies like Bupa, Cigna or Aetna. While convenient, you’re limited to the policies of that single insurer. You’ll also have to spend time comparing plans and managing the application process yourself.

3. Use a health insurance aggregator website

Websites like Pacific Prime and Globalsurance let you compare plans from multiple companies in one place. You enter information about your needs and budget and they provide quotes for you to evaluate. However policies can be complex, and terms may be confusing (some might say mis-leading), and it’s possible you may select a service that isn’t right for your circumstances.

4. Banks?

Thai banks often promote insurance services, but it’s essential to recognise that they themselves are not insurance providers. Instead, they collaborate with health providers to offer these services. While some may argue that banks might lack the specialised expertise needed to address your inquiries comprehensively, what they primarily offer is convenience.

Thailand Health Insurance - Sign forms

Can you buy direct with the insurer?

For some insurance services this is more common. But due to the complexity of life and health insurance there are less ‘direct’ options available. And it’s generally held advice that it’s better to have the support of an independent broker to aid you with these important insurance needs.

For example an agent or broker may know important insights like how hospitals view that insurance provider, and if that health provider is widely accepted throughout Thailand.

Thailand Health Insurance - Agent representative

Understand the Role of an Insurance Agent in Thailand

An insurance agent, also known as an insurance broker, can help guide you through the process of choosing and purchasing expat health insurance in Thailand.

Their role is to:

  • Help determine your coverage needs based on your situation.
    Do you need a plan that includes emergency evacuation or maternity benefits? An agent can recommend plans suited to your unique needs.
  • Explain the details of different insurance plans and provider options.
    The Thai insurance market can be confusing to navigate as an expat. An agent can break down the pros and cons of plans from companies like Aetna, Cigna, and BUPA.
  • Handle the paperwork and application process.
    Applying for insurance in Thailand requires submitting various documents. An agent can ensure your application is complete and help expedite the underwriting process.
  • Provide ongoing support.
    After purchasing a plan, an agent can answer questions about claims, coverage changes, and renewing or switching your policy. They act as your advocate to resolve any issues with the insurance company.
  • Offer competitive rates.
    In some cases, agents have access to discounts and promotions not available when purchasing insurance directly. They may be able to find you the best deal on the coverage you need.
Thailand Health Insurance - Paperwork

What’s the difference between an insurance agent and a broker?

Choosing between an insurance agent also known as a ‘captive agent’ and an independent broker can be tricky. Note that the general term ‘insurance agent’ is often used for both of these.

Here are some key differences to consider:

Captive Agent

A captive insurance agent represents a single insurance company and can only sell policies from that company. The pros are that they know their products inside and out. The cons are limited choice and potentially higher premiums.

Independent Broker

An independent broker represents multiple insurance companies so they can find you the best deal. The benefits to you are more choice and in theory can offer you a service that’s more suited to your needs. The cons are that they may not know each company’s policies as well.

As one example CNXinsure is an independent broker based in Chiang Mai Thailand.

In the end, think about what’s most important to you – lower costs, specific coverage, or personalized service. Then find an agent or broker aligned with your priorities. Don’t be afraid to interview a few and go with who you feel most comfortable with. Your expat health insurance is too important to not get right!

Table highlighting differences between insurance agent options:

Insurance Agent (captive) benefits:Insurance Broker (independent) benefits:
• Ability to bind coverage on insurers’ behalf

• Expertise in specific insurer policies

• Direct relationship with insurers

• Ability to sell you an insurance plan directly
• Prioritises client needs (options)

• Expertise in wider market solutions

• Competitive pricing

• Often better client support

Questions you should ask your insurance agent before you choose

What experience do you have helping expats in Thailand?

Look for agents with several years of experience specifically helping expats navigate Thailand’s health insurance options. They should understand common challenges expats face and be able to recommend comprehensive coverage.

Do you work with a range of reputable insurance providers?

In our opinion the agent should offer plans from multiple, reputable providers so you have good options to choose from. Ask which companies they represent and do some research to ensure they’re well-established insurers that offer expat coverage.

What should I consider when choosing a health insurance plan?

Their answer should discuss things like coverage limits, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, medical evacuation, and access to your preferred doctors and hospitals. Make sure they ask about your specific health needs and priorities.

Do you provide ongoing support after I purchase a policy?

Choose an agent who will help you understand the details of your policy, file claims, and answer questions. They should also periodically review your coverage to ensure it’s still meeting your needs.

The agent you select can have a big impact on your healthcare experience in Thailand. Do your due diligence, trust your instincts, and choose someone you feel comfortable with. An experienced agent who offers comprehensive support and guidance can help give you peace of mind.

Thailand Health Insurance - Communication

Agent communications

When choosing an expat health insurance agent in Thailand, consider how well they communicate. After all, you want an agent who can explain your policy details clearly and help you when needed.

Do they offer phone support?

Look for an agent with a direct phone line so you can easily reach them in case of emergencies or claims issues. They should have staff who speak fluent English to handle your calls.

Some may also offer WhatsApp, Facebook groups and more than can also assist with general questions.

Are they fluent in Thai?

Your agent may need to communicate with hospitals, doctors and insurance providers in Thailand on your behalf. Make sure they have Thai speaking staff to handle these interactions smoothly.

Do they have a physical office?

While phone and email support are important, face to face meetings are ideal at times, and can help establish trust between you and the agent. Look for an agent with an office in Thailand where you can meet in person to review policies, ask questions and handle paperwork.

Can they explain coverage clearly?

A good agent will explain your health insurance policy details in simple terms so you fully understand your coverage, exclusions, premiums and more. They should walk you through the policy thoroughly and answer all your questions patiently.

Agent rapport

Your expat health insurance agent, or broker, will be your main point of contact for any questions or issues regarding your policy.

It’s important to find an agent you connect with and feel you can have an open line of communication. Some things to consider when selecting an agent:

  • Did they respond promptly and seem knowledgeable?
    An agent well-versed in expat health insurance options in Thailand will be able to provide quick, comprehensive answers to your questions.
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with them?
    You want an agent you feel at ease communicating with, who listens to your concerns and explains things clearly. Look for someone friendly yet professional.
  • Are their fees and commission structure transparent?
    Reputable agents will disclose upfront how they are compensated to avoid any confusion. Find an agent with reasonable fees that suit your budget.
  • Can they recommend plans from multiple insurers?
    An independent agent who works with various companies can compare options objectively and suggest the policy that best fits your needs. Be wary of agents tied to just one insurer, as they may be more motivated to sell certain plans.
  • Do they specialise in expat health insurance?
    Agents focused specifically on expat health plans will have a better understanding of coverage options, benefits and pitfalls for those living abroad. They can guide you to a policy tailored for expats in Thailand.

Take your time, ask lots of questions and go with the agent you feel most at ease with and confident in. Your agent can make the entire process smoother and help ensure you select the best coverage for your situation.

Testimonials and references

Testimonials and references from other expats are invaluable when selecting an insurance agent. Look for agents that can provide video or written reviews from current or past clients.

Real-world experiences from fellow expats living in Thailand will give you insight into what it’s like to work with the agent and which companies they represent.

Understand the challenges

An agent that has helped many other expats over the years likely has a good grasp of the challenges and needs specific to the expatriate community. They should be familiar with the major health insurance providers in Thailand that offer plans for foreign residents.

Not just testimonials

While testimonials alone don’t guarantee a good experience, they can reveal the agent’s level of knowledge, responsiveness and customer service. Look for an agent with a proven track record of satisfied long-term clients.



  • Ask expat friends and/or Google research for agents in your area
  • Check online reviews and ratings to find highly rated expat agents
  • Arrange intro calls to get a feel for their level of experience
  • Evaluate their responsiveness and overall customer service


  • Once you’ve selected a few top candidates, compare the policy options and quotes they provide.
  • Don’t just go for the cheapest premium
  • Look at the level of coverage, exclusions, deductibles and provider networks
  • Select based on your specific needs.

A good agent:

  • Your agent should be transparent about any fees or commissions in addition to the premium
  • They should have significant expat experience
  • A good agent will continue to support you after you’ve purchased a policy
  • They can help with claims processing, policy changes and renewals
  • Use an agent who is fluent in both English and Thai.

Finding the right health insurance agent may take some work upfront, but will give you peace of mind knowing there is someone to guide you through any issues. Do your research, ask the right questions and go with an agent you trust. Your health and well being in Thailand depends on it!

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